Fall makes me think about canning and preserves. With my lamentations on the end of the growing season in sight I have been looking for ways to bring it into the cold season, winter. I started with a little online search and came across an Unusual Jelly Recipes website with a beet jelly or fauxberry jelly as I like to call it. I am thrilled with the idea that I can have jelly on toast for breakfast, pickled beets with cold cuts for lunch, and greens with dinner all from one bunch of vegetables. I did also come across a Mountain Dew jelly that would make a fun gift for my sister.
While searching I also came across a few blogs on sustainable living. Missing willow farm is a fun blog to read a follow a dairy goat farmer and the amuzing problems her animals, including different kinds of fowl, can get into. Mademoiselle Chaos has some beautiful handspuns, crocheted lacework, and fun gardening topics. I especially love the geurilla gardening topics. Down to Earth has some great information from aquaponics to canning to fiber arts. And finally, A Rustic Life showcases her experiences that include canning, raising sheep, and of course fibers.

These topics have seemed to become more trendy over the past few years. And while it may seem to some that I am jumping on the bandwagon myself, these are characteristics that have repeated through my whole life. It is funny to remember my father's mother exclaiming, "Didn't your grandmother in Iowa teach you anything?" when we asked how she wanted the lettuce cut. The funny thing is my grandmother in Iowa taught me how to crochet, sew, and cook. She also taught me to love garden fresh produce, canned goods, and to respect your elders. She also taught us how to hatch chickens from eggs, how to laugh, and how to love. Other Grandma, she taught me how to deal with difficult people and well that I don't like having to go through pigs to get to the hen house.

Growing up these things were around me. When combined with love they were invaluable, when they were combined with indifference then I probably missed out on something that could have been wonderful. As money has been tight in the past, I have also learned to be creative and confident in my skills. I can make a roast chicken stretch like no other. Not that I have in awhile. I am trying to bring back those skills that I put aside when I started working. I want to bake bread again and eat real food that comes from ingredients and not from a box. I want to start saving money and develope financial security. I may not be jumping on that bandwagon but I am cheering them on.
 
http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Book-Small-Batch-Preserving-Year-Round/dp/1554072565/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1285886360&sr=1-1-fkmr0
http://www.amazon.com/Well-Preserved-Small-Batch-Preserving/dp/1552859886/ref=pd_sim_b_2  
http://www.pickyourown.org/jellyrecipes.htm  
http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/  
http://rustic-life.blogspot.com/  
 
I have alot of memories of Cattle Congess from when I was a child. Not just the rides, but the exhibits too. I loved the life size butter sculptures, the animals, vegetable, and crafts. I took the kids this year, it was their 100 year anniversary.

When I brought up NCC with the kids we had a different idea of how things would go. In the end we  went friday evening before I had to go in to work. With limited time and the late hour, we had to limit our activities. I allowed one ride Alex chose the zipper, my ride of choice as a teen. I remember getting stuck on it while it was repaired. I didn't know why we were sitting still but my mother was not impressed with the impromptu maintenance. The boys decided to play a game instead. Charles played the balloon/dart game, another fav frm my past. Danny played the game where you toss a wiffle ball onto a canning jar. They each won a small stuffie.

We did go through the barns. I was impressed with the various animals. In perticular the rippling muscled bull and the hairy sheep. They had been sheered so it is difficult to tell from the pictures. Basically they grow curly locks of hair instead of wool. I also liked the lincoln and corridale.

You cannot go to the fair without snacks. I had a walking taco and cheese curds, and of course lots of taffy. Mmmm. Charles was my photographer.
 
All around you hear about trees changing colors and the weather cooling. I am seeing some of that hee as well. The most prominant signs for us are Homecoming and the fall play. Try outs are monday and Seniors are already planning decorations for Homecoming. Alex has a dark red dress hat can double for christmas. Both Charles and Alex are planning to participate in the play, either with sets or acting.

With all these signs of fall, it is surprising to see my garden not only still bearing but preparing for a second crop. My strawberries are producing, my kale and brussel sprouts were ravaged by cabbage moth. All that remained were one plant of each with a few chewed leaves. Amazingly both are making a comeback. I doubt that I will get any brussel sprouts, the plant was too sressed. I may end up with some fall greens after all though. At least they will be able to survive any frosts we may have next month.